Looking for tips on how to raise your credit score? This guide can help. Raising your credit score is extremely important because your score determines whether you can get loans and the interest rates that lenders will give you.
Raising your credit score is not easy, it will take financial discipline and hard work. However, it will be extremely beneficial to you and make it easier for you to get funding in the future including mortgages and auto loans.
Before you can get a credit score, you need to think about opening accounts that will be reported to the major credit bureaus. This will help you build a credit profile and you can begin to lay down the important foundations for getting a high credit score.
You will need to at least have a few open and active accounts. Make sure to use the credit cards and not just have them open as activity is reported to the credit bureaus. You should also open a variety of different accounts including loans, credit cards, or mortgages if applicable.
If you are new to credit, there are fewer options available but you will still be able to open secured loans or special credit builder loans. There are also credit card options available for you where you can get added as an authorized user added to the account.
The credit card will not technically be in your name but you will be able to make purchases and payments just like you would with your own credit card.
Getting a credit profile from scratch is probably one of the most important steps when it comes to credit scores. Make sure you are checking your credit score as you open accounts and start building a score as you want to make sure there are no fraud reports.
You can check your credit score for free online from many different places so you can easily keep track of where you are financially. Checking your credit score before applying for loans and credit cards is also essential so you can know where you stand.
Your payment history is one of the most important things that affect your credit score. You need to make sure you are always making payments on time. Payments that are 30 days late or more are always reported to credit bureaus and you will see your credit score fall by several points.
If you want a credit score in the good or excellent range, you have to make sure you make all payments on time. The easiest way to do this is to set up automatic payments for the minimum amount due. This ensures you never miss a payment even when your schedule is busy. If you can afford to make more than the minimum payment, you should always do so. You can always go into your account and make another payment to help you pay the balance down.
Automatic payments should always be at least the minimum payment though. When you have automatic payments set up, you also need to make sure your bank account does not go into overdraft as this can also hurt your credit score.
Make sure you stay on top of all your accounts including credit cards and loans. If at any time you are having trouble making a payment, you can contact the lender. Many lenders are willing to work with you.
If you do not make payments, your account can be sent to collections which will make a major dent in your credit score. Managing debt can be hard, but it’s doable when you have a budget set.
Sometimes having a past-due account is unavoidable if you have hit a tough financial spot. However, there are always options to make the accounts current again. If you have past-due accounts, getting them caught up will allow you to raise your credit score.
Keep in mind though that late payments can stay on a credit report for up to 7 years. Keeping the account current though can raise the score a few points and counteract the drop from the late payments.
Keeping the account current also allows you to avoid adding more late payments to the credit history. Each time you miss a payment, you will also get a late fee which raises the account balance of your loans and makes it much harder to pay off.
If you are not able to make your accounts current, you might want to consider talking to a debt counselor. They can make debt management plans for you. They can also call the lenders and try to get lower payments for you. They might also be able to lower your interest rates. Having someone negotiate on your behalf is always a good plan because they can try and get your accounts current again.
Make sure to get a debt counselor with good reviews. Research counselors and companies online before choosing one. You want to make sure they are reputable and can give you all the help you need.
If you have large account balances, your credit score can suffer. Especially if your income is low as this can cause a high debt-to-income ratio. Even if all your bills are current, having high balances means you have a high credit utilization rate. This can really hurt your scores.
Ideally, you want your credit utilization to be as low as possible. This is why you’re encouraged to always pay more than the minimum payment if possible. This will keep you from wracking more interest rates as well since your account balance is lower.
Try to keep your balances well below your credit limit. If you are new to your credit limit, you need to try to pay the balance off or as much of the balance as possible. The longer you keep the balances high, the more your credit score will be affected.
Most people who have high credit scores have credit utilization in the low single digits. Even if you make minimum payments on time, your credit utilization could be extremely high which will impact your credit score.
This is why some people choose debt consolidation plans. You can take some of your high-interest debts and combine them into one single loan. You can also transfer the debt to another credit card with a higher limit and lower interest rates.
Transferring debt needs to be done wisely though. Shop around for lenders and make sure you are getting interest rates much lower than what you currently have. When in doubt, seek advice from a financial advisor or a relative you trust who has experience in debt consolidation.
You will need to open new accounts to have a credit file. However, you want to avoid opening too many new accounts, especially in a small time frame. Each time you apply for a new account, you will get a hard inquiry on your credit file. This will cause a small drop in your credit score. If you get many hard inquiries around the same time, you can see a major drop in your credit score.
Opening a new account also decreases the average age of your accounts which can hurt your scores. These are more minor factors than late payments or credit utilization, but they still need to be considered when you want to raise your credit scores.
There are some exceptions to this rule though. For example, if you are shopping around for a mortgage and get many inquiries at one time, the credit bureaus recognize that you are rate shopping and they will ignore some of the inquiries.
Usually, the inquiries need to be done within a few days or weeks of one another for the bureaus to recognize that you are rate shopping. This only applies to things like mortgages and auto loans. Make sure to do all your applications around the same time to avoid a huge drop in your credit scores.
Managing your money can have long-lasting effects that you might not even know about. Some people are not aware of how much easier raising your credit score can be when you follow basic steps to manage your money more efficiently.
The first thing you need to do when it comes to money management is to make a budget. Write down all your monthly expenses and your income including any extra income you might have coming in. Then, allocate the money into categories where it needs to go. Make sure to budget for all loan and credit card payments.
It sounds simple but having a budget can ensure you are not living out of your means and not spending money you don’t have. If you have a salary change or a change in bills, make sure to adjust your budget to ensure it’s changed when needed.
Some people find that they can manage their money easily on a spreadsheet. Other people might benefit more from a budgeting app so that the app does the work for you. There are many free apps that you can use where the app can put your money into categories and show you how much you have left over at the end of every month.
You can also chart money as you spend it so that you know how much you have left in every category. This ensures you never go over budget.
Managing your money can give you more financial freedom than you may expect. When you are able to manage your money well, you can manage other parts of your life better as well.
There are many credit monitoring services that you can use for free to see where your credit score stands. You can also see how it changes over time. You need to periodically check your credit score to make sure there are no fraud charges as this can cause your credit score to drop over something that wasn’t even your doing.
When you make an account with credit monitoring companies, you can also set it up to alert you when there is a change such as a new account opening. This allows you to know all the ins and outs of your credit.
The main credit bureaus also allow you to have one free credit check annually. This includes TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. If you happen to get an alert over a new account or card that you did not open, you need to contact the credit card company right away to get the account removed.
You can also freeze your credit accounts so that no more fraud is allowed to take place until you have the issue sorted. Unfortunately, people are able to open accounts in your name if they have your social security number or if they have stolen your identity.
Checking your report is also important before you reach out to a lender to receive a loan. You need to know your own credit score so that you know your chances of being approved for the loan. This helps you avoid applying for loans that you might not qualify for.
Many are tempted to close old accounts that they no longer use. This might seem like a good idea but it can actually hurt your credit score and do more damage than good. The older your accounts are, the better your score will be. This is because you have a longer credit history and it shows lenders you are capable of managing debt for longer periods of time.
Closing accounts, while you have higher balances on other cards, can make your available credit lower and then increase your credit utilization number.
If you really need to close an account, wait until your own balances are very low. This will ensure that even though you are closing an account, your credit utilization will stay low because your other accounts have little to no balances.
In general, though, keeping an old account open should not be an issue because it doesn’t cause you an inconvenience. The account will be open but you will just not be using the credit card.
In some cases, though, the account has to be closed. For example, if you have a car that still has an auto loan but you are deciding to sell the car and get rid of the loan. Then, the account will have to close. You will probably see a drop in your score for at least a few months or maybe longer.
You should also make sure to deal with any delinquencies appropriately. Take immediate action to resolve any charge-offs, collection accounts, or other delinquent accounts. It will not completely erase certain things like late payments, but it will raise your payment history as you go forward. This can have an overall positive impact on your credit score.
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth going into more detail. Sometimes your debt might just be too much to handle especially when you are tasked with paying several credit card and loan balances in the same month. It can also be hard to keep up with several payments in the same month and you might end up accidentally missing one or two which can lower your credit score.
When you consolidate debt, you are taking your debt and combining it all into one payment to make it easier to pay and keep track of. You can get a debt consolidation loan from a credit union or bank.
You can usually get lower interest on this loan compared to what you’re paying with your credit card balances. This allows you to pay down your debt faster. It can improve your credit utilization ratio and also increase your credit score.
If the loan option does not work for you, you can get a balance transfer credit card. Many of these cards have a promotional period where you can charge 0% interest to the balance. These cards do have balance transfer fees though which can take a huge chunk of your money. You may need to pay 3% to 5% of the amount of the transfer.
Debt consolidation can be scary but it often works out in your favor because you get a lower interest rate and you can pay off some of your debt that has grown over the years.
Ready to raise your credit score? Using these 9 tips can bring you steps closer to getting a higher credit score. Having a credit score in the good or excellent range allows you to have an easier time when it comes to needing loans or needing to open new credit card accounts. You can also get lower interest rates on mortgages and auto loans.